From TNR’s James Kirchick:
And Zinsmeister’s not-so-smooth departure from The American Enterprise might have remained a footnote in AEI history–except that, two months later, he was named Claude Allen’s successor at the White House.
Publicly, conservatives praised the appointment. Grover Norquist called him an “intellectual’s intellectual,” while Zinsmeister’s former boss, AEI president Christopher DeMuth, said he was “thrilled” with the White House’s decision.
But, privately, many conservatives were stunned–and horrified. “Everyone who knows Karl that I’ve spoken to reacted with blatant shock,” says a former editor at The American Enterprise. Another former staffer at the magazine told me that, after Zinsmeister’s hiring, “the last vestige of confidence I had in the Bush administration–which wasn’t very much–was shot to hell.” A prominent neoconservative Washington journalist put it this way: “Everyone thought it was wacky.”
Read the rest here.